Culture

Culture, Ideas, Religion

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tedsblog/261719338/">Ted Johnson</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Friday, we're talking about the ethical arguments for and against having children. The world's population is expected to reach eight billion by 2025 and The New Yorker's environmental journalist Elizabeth Kolbert says that when we make decisions about how many kids to have we're "determining how the world of the future will look." Kolbert will be our guide through the debate. We'll then be joined by economist Bryan Caplan who says there are a lot of good reasons to be having more kids. (Rebroadcast)

The Psychopath Test

Jun 16, 2012

It's estimated that 1 in every 100 people is a psychopath: manipulative, callous and lacking remorse. It's not just serial killers that fit the description though. Psychopaths are also CEOs, politicians and religious leaders. When journalist Jon Ronson learned to be a psychopath-spotter, he started seeing them everywhere. The problem he says, is that the psychology industry does too. Monday, Ronson joins Doug to explain why he says we should be defined by our sanity and not our madness.

SUPERMAN

Jun 12, 2012

Seventy-five years after his creation, Superman remains one of America’s most cherished cultural icons.  His legend laid the bedrock of the comic book world and precipitated the very idea of the superhero. In his new biography of the man of steel, Larry Tye chronicles Superman’s creation story and the adventures of the men and women who have ushered the red-and-blue-clad titan through changing eras and evolving incarnations. Tye joins Doug on Wednesday to profile America’s most enduring hero.

There are stories of hidden treasure throughout the West, but John Koyle's belief in the "Relief Mine" went deeper than mere legend. Koyle was known as something of a prophet in his community. In 1894 he had a dream about riches in the mountains of Utah County, and he predicted these would be found at a time of great peril for the nation. Friday, we're talking about what's also called the "Dream Mine" and about why there are people who still believe. (Rebroadcast)

Counting the Saints

Jun 3, 2012
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoaudiovisual/5370418204/">Marco Antonio Vargas</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The LDS Church is the second fastest growing religion, but there's a debate over how many people are Mormon. In the U.S., the Church reports some 6.2 million members. Independent researchers place the number at 4.4 million. The difference lies in who should be counted. LDS statistics reflect people who were baptized, but who may no longer be active or even believe. Monday, we're discussing what this gap reveals about the Church today: how it's connecting with a new generation and how it's faring abroad.

Millions of years ago, geological forces ripped the world to pieces. Christopher Columbus changed all that though. When he sailed across the Atlantic, he began a process that knit the world back together ecologically and economically. It meant there would be tomatoes in Italy and coffee in Brazil. The journalist Charles Mann says while the costs and benefits are inseparable, 1493 marked the birth of the world we live in today. Mann is in Utah and he joins us to talk about his book called "1493."

How to Die in Oregon

May 25, 2012

When Peter Richardson's documentary on physician assisted suicide screened at the Sundance Film Festival last year, the New York Times called it one of the most difficult to watch movies of the festival. Richardson followed terminally ill patients deciding when - or if - to end their own lives. He says the film isn't about death and dying as much as it is about life and living. HOW TO DIE IN OREGON is screening in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with Peter Richardson. (Rebroadcast)

Bunch of Amateurs

May 23, 2012

You probably know some amateurs, people driven by a singular passion for whatever, birdwatching, maybe, or home brewing or space elevators. The writer Jack Hitt certainly knows the type. He’s written a book about semi-professional people in the grip of passion, and he argues that they've powered America’s success and innovation. From Benjamin Franklin to a young Bay Area woman trying to splice a fish’s glow-in-the-dark gene into yogurt, Hitt has documented American amateurs, and he joins Doug on Thursday.

Religion for Atheists

May 22, 2012
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/574809150/">Timothy Valentine</a>|<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr

Is any religion true? The popular British philosopher Alain de Botton opens his latest book by declaring this the most boring and unproductive question a person can ask. de Botton is himself a resolute non-believer, but by setting that debate aside, he says we can look at the really good ideas religions offer about how to live and how to arrange society. Wednesday, Alain de Botton joins Doug for an exploration of his "Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion."

Doug talks to Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR's "On the Media." She's written a graphic nonfiction book - a journey through two millennia of journalism. Gladstone says that there's always been a fear that the media are somehow controlling our minds. But rather than being an external force, she argues that the media are mirrors that show us our own reflection. Doug talks to her about "The Influencing Machine," and about what we can do to be savvy media consumers. (Rebroadcast)

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